Self Help Groups

Improving livelihoods of impoverished households

Families with insecure livelihoods are often forced to compromise the education of their children. Seemingly small costs like exercise books and uniforms become prohibitive and there is work for children to do both at home and outside it. As the child’s performance in school inevitably slides, letting him or her continue can seem increasingly pointless. It are most often the girls who are being pulled out of school to work at home or marry at a usually very young age.


In rural Ethiopia CHADET identifies boys and girls who are at risk of dropping out of school for these reasons and supports them as well as their vulnerable parents, who are very often single mothers. By providing the costs of the education, emphasising its importance, and supporting a parents ability to earn money, it becomes much more likely that the child can not only stay in school but succeed there.

 


Self Help Groups and Saving and Credit Cooperatives

In order to alleviate the challenges that children are faced with, CHADET believes that it is essential to work towards improving the livelihoods of their parents and guardians. Therefore, an economic strengthening component is built across all the projects of CHADET. The household economic improvement programs take different forms, including the establishment and strengthening of Self Help Groups (SHG) and Saving and Credit Cooperatives (SACCO), depending on the context.


Self Help Groups
Self Help Groups (SHGs) are informal associations, consisting of 15-20 members of the low-income bracket, that are organized to collectively work for the improvement of their household income, in particular and the social development of their village in general. SHGs have proven to positively affect the situation of the children and other family members involved.

In 2014, CHADET organized sixteen SHGs in the Fogera Woreda in South Gondar, with over 160 parents participating. A total amount of ETB 80,000 was made available as seed money for the different groups, which assisted them in engaging in various income generating activities. In Woliso, around 350 economically unstable mothers were organized in to four saving and credit associations and two self-help groups, while an addition of one hundred members of previously established SHGs were given basic business skill training.


Saving and Credit Cooperatives

CHADET organizes Saving and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) to assist mothers of vulnerable households in Ethopia. Participants of the project receive Basic Business Skill training and book keeping workshops, to teach them about the opportunities, best practices and risks of saving, lending and starting a business. Furthermore, efforts have been made to link the groups with different government agencies that provide access to credit and technical support.

Currently, there are more than 744 mothers participating in different projects of the SACCOs. The mothers involved receive different business related training by different institutions, including an introduction to micro-finance.

Read below how the SHG changed Birtukans life

Birtukan, a 14 year old girl with big brown eyes and curly pitch black hair, lives together with her mother in a rural village in South Gondar.

Birtukan has always been an energetic child, eager to learn about everyone and everything in her environment. She always loved to go to school, waiting impatiently every morning with her way too big back on her back in front of her house. She always envisioned herself as a nurse when she would be grown up; helping other people is what she loved most.

Unfortunately, like many children in Ethiopia, she was forced to drop out of school due to financial problems. Birtukan’s mother didn’t have a means of making a living, so it was really hard for them to survive; let alone think about education. Birtukan had to leave school and her friends to help her mother with domestic chores.

 

Burtukan: “I was feeling very sad about having to leave school, but I understood my mom needed my help. I cannot express the feeling I felt when I heard my mother was chosen to be a beneficiary of CHADET!”

Birtukan’s mother was selected to take part in one of CHADETs self-help group programs- the child safeguarding and access to quality education project. After receiving the essential trainings and being able to make some savings, she was provided with a matching fund and started petty trade. Thanks to being a member of SHG, she managed to save ETB 2,500 for her daughter’s education.

“Now that my mom is capable to support me, nothing can stop me from fulfilling my dream.”


In the meanwhile, Birtukan has continued her education and is still holding her dream: “I want to become a nurse when I grow up”, she says with a big, proud smile. “Now that my mom is capable to support me, nothing can stop me from fulfilling my dream.”

About CHADET

CHADET is an indigenous non-governmental organization that works to improve the lives of marginalized children in Ethiopia

by providing access to quality education and improving livelihood opportunities.